Political Fracas NPP women’s caucus in Parliament supports affirmative action

Some party supporters have been protesting the move arguing that it was unconstitutional and that it would affect the party negatively if it was not reversed.

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Female members of Parliament from the Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) have urged the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) not to waver in its policy to fully implement the affirmative action policy.

The policy is to disallow males from contesting sitting female MPs in 16 constituencies.

The policy was contained in a press statement to open nominations for parliamentary primaries on 30th March announced.

The statement announced a proposal by the NEC for only female aspirants to contest the 16 female Members of Parliament in their respective constituencies in the party’s primaries slated for May 24, 2015 to select parliamentary aspirants for the 2016 general elections.

Similarly the NEC also agreed that coastal constituencies in the Greater Accra Region should be contested by Ga indigenes except in exceptional circumstances and named those constituencies as Ngleshie Amanfrom, Ablekuma South, Odododiodio, Korle Klottey, La Dade Kotopon, Ledzokuku, Krowor, Tema East, Tema West, Kpone Katamanso, Amasaman and Obom Domeabra.

Some party supporters have been protesting the move arguing that it was unconstitutional and that it would affect the party negatively if it was not reversed.

They stormed the headquarters at Asylum Down in Accra to protest the move.

Also, some party members from Lower West Akyem Constituency at Asamankese in the Eastern Region journeyed to Accra to register their disapproval at the national headquarters. The Lower West Akyem constitutency seat is occupied by a female, Gifty Klenam.

But, the Minority Women’s Caucus in Parliament, in a press statement signed by Esther Obeng- Dapaah, its chairperson, called on “all well-meaning Ghanaians to support this cause, to stand firm and join in the struggle to increase women’s participation in decision making.”

She made references to the Beijing Platform for Action, United Nations references and the Maputo Protocol to the African Charter on the Rights of Women, in Africa, which was signed by former President John Agyekum Kufuor and ratified by Ghana’s Parliament in 2003, which mandated that all states ensured that at least 30 per cent of seats are held by women.

“Furthermore, the four major parties in Ghana, including the NPP, in 2009, under the auspices of the Institute of Economic Affairs signed an undertaking to reserve 30% of all positions in all their party structures, including parliamentary seats to women.

“The NPP during the WiLDAF led Women’s Dialogue with political parties in September 2012, reiterated its commitment to affirmative action, pledged to encourage women to stand in its strongholds by instituting a voluntary quota for women, and stated its determination to encourage more women to stand for elections by not subjecting them to ruinous primaries,” Mrs Obeng-Dapaah, who is also the MP for New Abirem said.

Describing the policy as historic, the NPP Women’s Caucus said it rejoiced at the NEC decision to allow only women short lists in the 16 constituencies currently held by NPP female MPs, arguing that “this bold decision must be applauded and emulated by all other parties.”

The women parliamentarians urged the NEC and the National Council to stand firm and insist on the full implementation of the policy for posterity sake.

They stated emphatically, that, as “tried and tested politicians,” they were not afraid of competition and not in need of protection, and that they were sure they would win any primaries, but added however that the “decision will make it easier for the next generation of women politicians to get into Parliament.

“This policy will also do a little to address the gaping gender gap caused by election of only one woman to the National Executive Committee and the absence of any other female deputies apart from the Deputy Women’s Organisers.

“This gender gap does not speak well of our party’s commitment to empowerment,” Mrs Obeng- Dapaah said.\u0000

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